After the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Brazil on February 25, Brazil experienced an explosion in hospital admission records for people with severe respiratory failure, according to data from Fiocruz.
That week, 662 people were hospitalized in the country with acute respiratory disease, with symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, and difficulty breathing.
In the week between March 15 and March 21, the number of new hospitalized patients had already jumped to 2,250 patients, according to the projection made based on official notifications sent by public health units and hospitals, and some private ones, from all over the world to the Ministry of Health.
"It is a number ten times higher than the historical average, of around 250 cases of hospitalization in February and March, in previous years", says researcher Marcelo Ferreira da Costa Gomes, from Fiocruz (FundaÃ§Ã£o Oswaldo Cruz).
The health ministry monitors data on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in Brazil. Several viruses cause SARS, including influenza, adenovirus, the four seasonal coronaviruses that have previously circulated - and the new coronavirus.
According to Gomes, the figures suggest that the "great increase" in hospitalizations may have occurred "as a result of Covid-19". However, not all hospitalized people have been tested for the disease, and test results are coming out several days late.
Translated by Kiratiana Freelon